'The Perfect Family' Kathryn Shay talks acceptance

We have a special guest today. Kathryn Shay, author of of the women's mainstream novel, The Perfect Family (Bold Strokes Books), is here to talk about acceptance. Visit Kathryn at www.kathrynshay.com.



By Kathryn Shay

Dear Writer’s Life Readers,

Thanks so much for allowing me to blog on your site. I appreciate the opportunity.

First, let me introduce myself and my new book. I’m Kathryn Shay and I’ve been published by Harlequin and The Berkley Publishing Group for the last fifteen years. The Perfect Family, released from Bold Strokes Books, is my thirty-seventh book. My work has been characterized by reviewers and readers as highly emotional, poignant and heart wrenching.

The Perfect Family follows the Davidsons, an average American family with a good life and they consider themselves lucky to have each other. Then their seventeen year old son tells them he’s gay and their world shifts. They have no idea what they will go through after Jamie’s disclosure: Jamie's father Mike can't reconcile his religious beliefs with his son's sexuality. His brother Brian is harassed by his jock buddies and angry at Jamie for complicating all their lives. Maggie, his mother, fears being able to protect her son while struggling to save her crumbling marriage. And Jamie feels guilty for the unhappiness his disclosure has caused. Their story is full of both conflict and love, ending on a redeeming note.

Basically, this book is about acceptance. Most people want to be accepted. We join churches, community groups and partake in common activities to be with people who are like us and who share the same interests. We play on sports teams and become fans of athletes, TV shows and music stars. Participating with others makes us feel included, like our friends and neighbors, in sync. There’s nothing wrong with this at all. It’s how we manage to stay sane in a pretty alienated world.

What is wrong is when we’re not accepted for who we are, when people isolate us because of our religion, skin color, nationality, belief system or a sexual orientation. This happens in The Perfect Family. When the main character, Jamie, comes out gay, he faces many rejections for who he is. But his biggest fear is rejection by his family. He has the most problems with his dad, and although they come through this process closer than ever, it’s a tough experience for them. Each learns to be more tolerant and understanding of the other.

Jamie also has to deal with other people who are unable to accept him. His best friend from childhood tells him God doesn’t want her to associate with a gay person; his neighbor un-invites him to a pre-prom party because he’s going with a boy; even his brother has difficulty with Jamie’s sexual orientation.

My wish for this book is that people read it and understand the need for tolerance, acceptance and unconditional love for those who are different from us. Overall, I hope my readers see an interesting family, a different kind of plot and some important messages about life.

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